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Rewinder [Rewinder #1] by Brett Battles
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Rewinder [Rewinder #1] (original 2014; edition 2015)

by Brett Battles (Author)

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767158,327 (3.7)4
Member:MSWallack
Title:Rewinder [Rewinder #1]
Authors:Brett Battles (Author)
Info:47North (2015), 260 pages
Collections:Your library, Read
Rating:*****
Tags:Rewinder

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Rewinder by Brett Battles (2014)

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It's a little bit "The Giver", a little bit "Ender's Game", and follows a "Hunger Games" formula. A kid from the lower-caste gets "chosen" to be a time-traveling researcher. When he accidentally hucks up the timeline, he's faced with the choice of whether to keep the new timeline (which seems better for humanity but erases everything and everyone he ever knew) or stay with the status quo. As you can tell by the transparent influences, the idea and characters are nothing new.

Yet, the novel kept my interest. At least until the time travel got too confusing. And it does get confusing -- worse than Doctor Who. If you thought Back to the Future Part II was bad, you will not like this novel. Even I lost track, and I love time travel. At one point there are, like, five of the main character in a given location in time, half of them are there to revoke mistakes the other made. Couldn't keep it straight. And rather than try to figure it out, I just stopped caring. The main character's personality is just a little too dry for me to stay invested in (he conveniently falls in love within two days time). ( )
  theWallflower | Nov 29, 2016 |
Usually I find that books written in the first person have a tendency to put me off, but this one really surprised me. I was intrigued by the concept of there being an America that was still very much part of the British Empire and all because of the death/murder of George Washington before he was able to achieve so much in his life.
The plot centres around a young man growing up at Level Eight in a caste system widespread throughout the British Commonwealth in the near future. He does so well that he comes to the notice of a group who are able to travel back in time to verify the genealogy of their clients, usually of quite a high order in the caste system.
No alteration to the timeline is justified, simply observe and record to verify (or otherwise) how people's past had developed. As you will no doubt guess, there is a glitch, and a very interesting glitch at that.
The young man's story is quite fascinating and well worth the effort of tackling the book, not that it is a hard read, but it does have an unusual beginning.
There is a follow up which I look forward to reading. ( )
  Alan1946 | Sep 25, 2016 |
I'm a huge fan of Brett Battles. Seriously. But for some reason, I'd put this book aside and never got around to reading it. The subject interested me and I love the author ... but ... I don't know. And now I'm kicking myself for not reading Rewinder sooner because this was an extremely fun and enjoyable book. I'd write a longer review, but I don't want to give anything away. Just go read the book. Now. ( )
  MSWallack | Mar 11, 2016 |
ABR's full Rewinder audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.

Time travel, alternate history and a nest of paradoxes.

The rewinders are a group of scholars who go back in time to verify the lineage of the 21st Century British aristocracy who pay for the service. In this reality, the American Revolution never occurred and all is British and bleak. The rewinders must only observe the past and never risk changing anything. Obviously, that’s what happens.

Rewinder is a generally good twist on the much used themes of alternate history and time travel. The historical references and detail ring true and give the story weight. Within the time travel elements, there are plenty of paradoxes and self-duplications. Battles just explains them away as that’s just what happens when you time travel and they don’t matter. It does make you think about the difficulty of it all, that even a small change could affect everything.

The story is written in the first person, present tense, so you are inside the main character’s head the whole time. This can get claustrophobic at times. Other times it gets tedious, as he enters our time and explains what we call phones and cars. Uh, we know what a car is.

Narration by Vicas Adams, who does an adequate job. His voice has a specific tone and quality that took this listener some getting used to. It is recommended that you listen to the audio sample and decide if this is a deal breaker. The production quality is excellent and he is certainly a professional.

Rewinder is not ground breaking, but is a pleasant listen. At about the length of a cross country plane flight and back, it is easy to stay with it.

Audiobook purchased for review by ABR. ( )
  audiobibliophile | Apr 10, 2015 |
This is an action-packed book but with far less time-travel than it originally appears and much more parallel universes.

The basic premise of the book is that this is the year 2015 in a wold where the American Revolution never occurred. Without the American Revolution, the British Empire ended up taking over most of the world (except East Asia). Everyone is sorted into extremely strict castes, and family history is everything. These people haven’t made it to the moon yet, but they have managed to discover time-travel. And they use this discovery solely to send people called “rewinders” back in time to verify people’s ancestry to solidify their ranking in this world. Now, this was my first major problem with the book, and it’s a plot point I just never was able to let go of. This society acknowledges the risk of the butterfly effect and yet they brazenly send people willy-nilly through time risking everything for what? Geneaology. And this has been going on for decades with no ill effects. Perhaps other readers can get past the idea that a federally (er, royally) backed agency would do this, but I simply could not.

Naturally, when our brave hero goes back in time, he is the first to woops his way into a butterfly effect. He knows he’s probably done it (he causes someone to leave a location 12 seconds late), but he still pops back up into the present to check on things. Once there, it takes him days to figure out that he’s changed history. Daaaaays. It should really not take him this long to figure this thing out. Denny causes a change. Denny pops up to the present. Denny has troubling connecting to his companion (a person in the present who grounds the person time-traveling), so he gets sick for a few days. Denny then wanders through our universe’s New York City and can’t figure out what’s going on. It takes traveling to California’s New Cardiff (in our world, Los Angeles) and seeing that his family home is gone to figure out what’s happened. Really? A person who has been trained in time-travel takes this long to figure out this very basic time-travel problem? It’s hard to believe, especially after we’ve been told repeatedly how smart Denny is, that he could be that stupid.

Denny then starts living in Los Angeles to investigate this parallel universe. He naturally meets a girl and falls for her. He then hast trouble deciding whether to put everything back or not. And of course there are other rewinders out there he must contend with.

The basic plot idea is interesting. What would have happened if there had been no American Revolution and how would a person from that society react if they discovered a different option for their lives? But how the author gets there isn’t fully thought-out or fleshed-out enough. There are too many logical fallacies, such as the ones I’ve laid out above. That said, it was a fun read with a different plot than what has been coming from a lot of YA recently. I was glad to see a scifi that contains some history for YA readers. I also appreciated how many women characters are present in the book, including Denny’s trainer and his nemesis. Similarly, Denny’s world is extremely lacking in diversity due to the success of the British empire and its traditionalism. When he travels to our world, he immediately encounters greater diversity, both of race and of sexuality, and he seems to appreciate that, which is a nice touch.

Overall, this book has an interesting premise and fast-moving plot. It has some romance, but is thankfully free of any love triangles. Time-travel fans may be frustrated by how easily characters brush off the real presence of time-travel issues. The science of time-travel is simply not explored enough, nor is history. However, YA readers looking for a quick read and something different in the genre will most likely enjoy it.

Check out my full review.

Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. ( )
  gaialover | Mar 21, 2015 |
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You will never read Denny Younger’s name in any history book, will never know what he's done. 

But even if you did, you’d never believe it. 

The world as you know it wouldn't be the same without him. 

Denny was born into one of the lowest rungs of society, but his bleak fortunes abruptly change when the mysterious Upjohn Institute recruits him to be a Rewinder, a verifier of personal histories. The job at first sounds like it involves researching old books and records, but Denny soon learns it's far from it. 

A Rewinder's job is to observe history. 

In person. 

Embracing his new life with enthusiasm, Denny witnesses things he could never even imagine before. But as exciting a life as this is, there are dangers, too. For even the smallest error can have consequences. 

Life-altering consequences. 

Time, after all, is merely a reference point.
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